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Contrast and Complement: A Flexible Workspace Enhanced with Interesting Materials

by creativehomex

2020 and 2021 have proven to be seminal years for CLOU: One year after launching a Shanghai branch near the Bund, CLOU’s Beijing office has now expanded into sparkling new premises. Within the familiar surroundings of Sanlitun SOHO, the space has doubled in size to occupy half a tower floorplate on the 17th floor, with a fully glazed facade offering sweeping views across Sanlitun and into the mountains of North Eastern Beijing.

Cool and clean lines define different zones of work, communication, research, and display, all connected by CLOU’s signature silver galvanized walls – a feature tying all spaces together since the office’s inception.

Black and white materials and furnishings contrast with warm wood and color accents, softly mirrored in the reflection of the steel. In another space, hot-dip galvanized steel sheet (SGCC) is widely used in industrial engineering, but mainly revolves around household appliances. To date, galvanized steel panels have provided all CLOU offices with flexibility and multi-use surfaces. The material’s sharp and cool appearance, its non-directional surface pattern, and its magnetic properties render the surfaces of the functional wall and furniture cladding a versatile canvas for all displayed representations of our design processes. From the main entrance through to the design floor and the communal areas, the softly distorting reflections emphasize industrious brightness in a connective gesture.

Entering the galvanized steel-covered entrance, the right side appears as an open office area, and the left side contains a model workshop. The two zones are connected by a stepped display area, the reception area, and a public corridor. The CLOU logo, as part of the brand identity, is presented on the walls of the three areas in a variety of materials and sizes. The black and silver graphic logo showcases the firm’s bold and creative image.

Brightly lit, open office zones are complemented by a variety of meeting rooms for in-person and virtual encounters. Each space infuses its own characteristics – the boardroom with its glass enclosure around bright blue flooring and warm orange-red fabric, a more intimate conference space with warm wood furniture on speckled green terrazzo, and a cave-like, all-wood retreat for quiet work and conversation.

Terrazzo is the characteristic element providing rhythm and dynamics to the multidimensional expanse of our most common projects: convivial neighborhood malls that bring communities together. CLOU’s new Beijing office references this material, transferring it from the bright floors of our retail spaces in order to introduce it as a means of territorial definition: open office areas are laid out to zone common and shared spaces in gleaming brightness, while meeting spaces encapsulate in subtle accent colors. Boldly striped contrast patterns create spatial dynamics in the lively community and circulation axis.

A proper workshop occupies a large area of the office: in a zone for model-making, design tests, and material research, the wood-clad environment integrates workbenches and 3D machinery with library storage and archive rooms. As for furniture, flexible furnishings allow for quick conversion into a photo studio or a mini-auditorium for inter-office presentations.

In additon, stepped display areas connect workplace and workshop along a communal meeting zone: where steel and wood intersect, models of projects past, present, and future showcase progress and variety, while benchmarking possibility and quality.


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